Professor Akira R. Takemoto offers classes on Japanese language, classical Japanese Literature, and traditional Japanese aesthetics, and he has been recognized with the George Ball Award for Excellence in Advising and the Thomas Howells Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition to his work at Whitman College, he currently serves as the Chair of the Associated Kyoto Program, a consortium of 15 liberal arts institutions in the United States that sponsors a two semester study abroad program to Kyoto, Japan. Professor Takemoto has a great interest in the traditional Japanese art of serving tea. He began studying chanoyu (the art of serving tea) in 1975 when he was doing graduate work in Japanese Literature at Stanford University. In 1978, he began studying with the Grand Master of the Yabunouchi school in Kyoto and received his teaching certificate in 1982. He has been teaching tea and tea aesthetics at Whitman College since 1984, and he has designed a number of tea rooms including the Chikurakken, a tea room that he designed in 2009. Every year, he provides individual lessons in the art of serving tea to interested Whitman students.